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Social Media Recruiting: A New Way to Source Talent

August 20, 2018

social media recruitingWhen you consider the impact of social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook on the way we behave as a society, the influence has been significant. Social media has completely shifted behaviors from news-sharing to the way we look for jobs. The proliferation of social media has meant that we all have a digital fingerprint on personal and work-related sites.   

Social recruiting is the method of using social media to recruit potential employees and is typically used to compliment traditional recruitment methods. This approach has become common place, as a survey by TalentLyft suggests that 73% of candidates are passive job seekers, therefore the use of social media can help.  

What is it? 

Social media data, and online content in general, are essential for brand monitoring platforms, social media analytics solutions, reputation tracking systems, and other big data solutions. Social media scraping is a technology-enabled iteration of social recruiting. The technology basically enables the recruiter to review publicly available content in a systematic way. Social media and social media scraping technologies are typically being used to either help source new candidates or augment decisions regarding candidates during the recruitment process.

How is it being used? 

Social media is being used by recruiters and HR professionals alike to identify and source talent. In short, software can enable recruiters to either review publicly accessible social media profiles to either find or monitor talent. It has significantly influenced how we recruit. However, it is arguably the most effective for more niche roles where specific skills, experiences, and knowledge are required. A key ethical issue is raised when a recruiter would consider using it as a criteria to screen individuals. 


  • Identifying talent that are not actively looking: The use of social media and associated analytics technologies are valuable when trying to tap into talent that you currently may not be able to access.
  • Help identify employees who will promote your brand: Arguably, work-related social media can help promote the brand of the organization. This may be particularly important for certain roles. However, it should be noted that this should be used with caution. 

Key Considerations: 

  • Accuracy: The key challenge is the accuracy of the decisions you can make based on social media data. The amount of information may not be sufficient to make any conclusions and may also be inaccurate. The extent to which this information can enable an accurate estimate of an individual’s capability is something that needs to be considered.  
  • Invasion of privacy: The preferences regarding recruiters viewing their social media profile may vary significantly between candidates, with some finding it a significant invasion of privacy.  However, these feelings may be influenced by the types of social media recruiters access. Our research into optimizing the candidate experience has shown that candidates surveyed are significantly more comfortable with recruiters accessing their LinkedIn profiles compared to other social media profiles (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram). 
  • Fairness: A very significant issue is that not all candidates may use social media or use it in ways that may have no bearing on how they will perform in their job. In addition, employers are under no obligation to reveal what social networking sites were used when they came to a decision, making it easier to discriminate against candidates. A report by ACAS found that most respondents from organisations (55%) did not have a formal policy covering use of social media for recruitment, compared with 37% who did.  

Find out more 

To learn more about our technology focused assessment solutions, have a look at our range of tools here (UK) or here (US), or please get in touch with one of the team who will be happy to help. 

Contact Us

Or call us on +44 (0)1483 752 900 


Ali Shalfrooshan is a Managing R&D Consultant at PSI Services LLC.

Click here to learn more about PSI’s Talent Measurement solutions.

Claire McCue Claire McCue is the Manager of Digital Marketing and PR at PSI. She specializes in content marketing for the talent management, leadership, higher education, certification, and licensing industries.